I've been a big fan of the ocean for as long as I remember. It for sure creeps me out (no doubt because I saw Titanic when I was 7) but being creeped out tends to fuel my obsessions anyway. In my years of travelling I've been blessed to have had some great first-hand experiences with the ocean - being tossed around so much that I've hurled, feeling the thrill of like risking my life every-time I entered in Western Australia, surfing in Ireland and sipping cocktails on a boat in Thailand. But no experience stands out quite so much as the time I went to the beach in the Philippines and saw this:

plastic free travel

Plastic all over the otherwise breathtakingly stunning beaches. What shocked me even more than the trash was how much of the trash was single-use and almost all of the rest could be easily avoided. I made a vow at that point to opt for plastic free travel. It definitely wasn't something I was able to do overnight, and still isn't something I'm fully able to do now, but it's a process and I'd like to share that process with you.

How the Average Consumer Can Help Preserve the Ocean

#1. Expanding Your Knowledge About Pollution

We highly recommend using Oceans' quizzes and puzzles about plastic pollution - a fun way to learn!

#2. Conserving More Water

You could, for example, use less water in your home and elsewhere so your wastewater does not flow into the sea or ocean.

#3. Reducing Your Share of Vehicle Pollution

Carpooling & Ride Sharing! Cycling! Walking! Public transport!

#4. Using Less Energy (as much as it is possible)

Turning lights off, purchasing energy efficient light bulbs, checking your heating, etc. (don't be too hard on yourself though, don't go freezing - put a jumper or two on!)

#5. Reducing and Refusing Pollutants

Reduce the use of (or totally refuse using) pesticides, herbicides and chemical cleaning products - you can choose nontoxic chemicals instead!

#6. Reducing Your Waste, Esp. Plastic!

Like coke bottles (easily replaced with cans, or by saying no to megagiant coca cola), lighters (replace with matches), plastic toothbrushes (replace with bamboo), straws (tilt your head back, or use a metal one), shampoo bottles (use a block or go 'nopoo'). Also, you can get into composting your organic waste, reusing your paper, plastic and metal waste (and reducing & refusing... and recylcing, if you do have to throw some out!) Use a refillable plastic bottle, reusable bags for shopping, avoid anything wrapped in plastic, try going zero waste!

#7. Go Vegan (At Least Reduce Your Seafood Intake)

Following the daily dozen might help in transitioning... don't worry, very few people do it one day to another, or 'cold tofu' as we like to say it (istead of cold turkey :) Remember, the official definition of veganism, according to the Vegan Society is: "Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude —as far as is possible and practicable— all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment." We would, as vegans ourselves, like to emphasize the "as far as is possible and practicable" part of the definition: this will be different for everyone, in various life situations, economic situations, for people from different regions of the world, etc. Don't be too hard on yourself - it's the effort and the striving that counts, not perfection.

#8. Respecting Wildlife Habitat

Wherever you go, watch where you step, what you pick up, what you touch - it might be someone's home.

#9. Safe Boating Is Cool!

"No wake" zones are a thing, check them out and keep rules. Anchoring far away from sea grasses & corals, closer to sandy areas is also important.

#10. Boycotting Companies that Pollute the Oceans

And supporting responsible companies, 'putting our money where our mouth is' as they say. Whilst I ultimately think the biggest responsibility lies with those in charge, we need to take action ourselves... demos, protests & boycotts have also worked well over the centuries!

#11. Volunteering (if you Can)

Beach cleanups & protecting your local watershed are cool things to do ;)

Wrap Up: Keeping Oceans Plastic Free

This all might seem a lot to do at once but worry not: it is the striving towards reduction and minimalization of harm that is important, not perfection! If you are interested in my post about Thailand, you can read it here. If you want to watch a video about preserving the oceans as a consumer, we recommend this one:

Thank you for reading, feel free to share your ideas in the comments section below! And remember people: refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, rethink and only recycle as a last resort!

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Travelling through the kyriarchy and weaselling our way out of the rat race - a female travel blogger writing about socially and politically conscious travelling.


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